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Re: [Bann Valley] Re: Downing Family

William Colwell Downing of a respectable family in Philadelphia, was anxious to establish his antecedents. He employed a Genealogist, Robert Wilberforce, who created a mythical family tree to demonstrate that WC was descended from Captain (later Lt. Colonel) Adam Downing of Bellaghy, he than embellished the existing records to show that Adam, was a member of the Downing baronetcy family, which he is not. It does not help that Burke's Extinct Baronetcies makes the same mistake. At the moment we are focusing on the Downing family from Bellaghy, who seem to be descendants of a John Downing, who fought at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 and settled in co. Waterford. He was a kinsman of Sir Richard Wingfield, the Queen's Marshall in Ireland, and probably joined Sir Richard to put down Doherty's rebellion in Derry in 1608. As a result of this he was granted lands, probably near Ballykelly. One of his younger sons, George Downing inherited these estates, but ultimately moved to Bellaghy in 1659, when the original leases from the Fishmongers expired. He seems to have had three sons (at least) including Nicholas of Drumard, who made a will in 1698, George of Rocktown, the father of Adam and several other sons, and William. He also had a daughter, who married a Mullhollen (or Mullholland). We know that there are a lot of Downing names in Bellaghy, who are not the descendants of Adam, and the issue is to establish any relationship, although some may be the descendants of Gaelic families who anglicised their name to Downing. We are making progress. We have recently found a family tree for Adam's brother Samuel at the College of Arms, but we do not believe it is entirely accurate!

We are trawling Irish wills and abstracts at present.

Thank you for your interest.  Robert Stedall

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